I am a man who loves his pizza. It has everything I look for in a meal. Crispy crust with a soft crumb, sweet and tangy tomato sauce, savory and fatty meats, loads of crisp veggies, and chewy, salty cheese! I’m a sucker for pizza, for sure.
Laura and I eat too much pizza, which is just enough for me. However, we’ve found that we end up spending way too much money on mediocre crap. Our only choices for pizza around here are the chain restaurants. We usually order Papa John’s because it’s far less greasy than the alternatives. Besides that, pizza out here on the island is terribly expensive. Without a coupon, a large specialty could cost us $28, before delivery fee and tip.
So why on Earth have I not been making it myself? I asked myself that the other day. It was a “duh” moment. Granted, it’s time consuming, but given a little planning, it really isn’t that much of a bother.
The most difficult and time consuming part of the pizza making process is definitely making the pizza dough. I wanted a dough that was primarily whole wheat, as I enjoy a whole wheat crust. A 100% whole wheat crust isn’t practical, however, because the dough will be difficult to work with and the end product will be dense and not really suitable for a pizza.
Pizza dough, like any other yeasted bread dough, are usually created from bread formulas. For those that are familiar with these, I will provide my percentages. That way you can make as much or as little as you like. For those that aren’t familiar with bread formulas, just use the weight measurements.
This formula is an adaptation of one of Jeffrey Hamelman’s recipes. Hamelman is considered an expert in the bread field, and practically idolized by bread professionals. I used a 60% whole wheat flour and 40% all purpose flour (King Arthur) instead of 100% bread flour. King Arthur’s all purpose flour is stronger than most all purpose flours and is perfect for making most breads, in my opinion.
I also used what is called a preferment with this recipe. What that means is that I took a portion of the total recipe’s flour and a portion of the total recipe’s water, added a tiny pinch of yeast, mixed it together, and then let it ferment overnight. This is done for many reasons, but mostly to develop flavor.
- 10.92 ounces of Whole Wheat Flour (60%)
- 7.28 ounces of All Purpose Flour (40%)
- 12.4 oucnes of Water (68%)
- .3 ounces of Salt (1.8%)
- .24 ounces of Active Dry Yeast (1.3%)
- .9 oucnes Extra Virgin Olive Oil (5%)
- 3.6 ounces of All Purpose Flour (100%)
- 2.2 ounces of Water (60%)
- a small pinch of Yeast
- 10.92 ounces of Whole Wheat Flour
- 3.68 ounces of All Purpose Flour
- 10.2 ounces of flour (thanks to Karen for pointing out that I accidently ommited this part)
- .3 ounces (about 1/2 Tablespoon) of Salt
- .24 ounces (just under 1/2 Tablespoon) of Active Dry Yeast
- .9 ounces (about 2 Tablespoons) of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 5.8 ounces (all of it) of Preferment
- Needless to say, the preferment makes this recipe a two day process. The night before you
Straight Dough Method
make the recipe, combine the ingredients for the preferment in a bowl and mix well. This doesn’t need to be kneaded, just mixed thoroughly. Place this little dough ball in a container with a lid, keeping in mind that it should double in size.
- On the next day, your preferment should have at least doubled in size and have air bubbles. Now we start the mix. Combine, in a Kitchenaid style mixer bowl, the water and yeast. Give this a quick mix with a hand held whisk to ensure the yeast dissolves. Do not use warm water! We don’t want to wake the yeast up too quickly, because a quick fermentation means the dough will taste “yeasty” instead of delicious.
- When the yeast is dissolved, add the preferment, whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, salt, and olive oil, in that order. This is called the straight dough method. Always start with the water and yeast and use the flour to create a barrier between the yeast and all the other ingredients. If you are a bread veteran, you can use the autolyse method (like I did in the pictures.) If you don’t know what that is, just ignore it 😉
- Get this mixing on the first speed of your mixer using the dough hook. Make sure that the ingredients are completely and thoroughly mixed before increasing the speed.
- Increase the speed of your mixer to speed two or three depending on the model and how new
your mixer is. Set a timer for 5 minutes and walk away. Do something else. The dough doesn’t need your help at this point. When the five minutes are up, check the dough to see how developed it is. An undeveloped dough will easily tear away from itself. It will be very loose and sticky and have little to no elasticity. A dough that is well developed will act slightly tenacious and elastic when pulled on. It will be smoother in appearance and, although it will be sticky, it won’t necessarily stick to your fingers in globs. Use the pictures as a reference. Keep in mind that a dough with whole wheat flour will never develop as completely as a dough with just white flour. If the dough isn’t developed, continue to mix on the speed you had it for another 3-5 minutes.
- When the dough is ready, transfer it to a lightly oiled or pan sprayed bowl. Take the temperature if you like with a probe thermometer. The ideal temperature should be around 75-78 degrees F. Cover this with a plastic shopping bag. Don’t use plastic wrap, as most plastic wrap is actually porous and the dough will eventually dry out. The dough is ready for it’s first fermentation. Set a timer for an hour and set the covered bowl on the counter top.
- After the first fermentation, it is time to fold the dough. This does two things. First, it punches some of the trapped carbon dioxide out and helps to redistribute the yeast in the dough so it has a new food source. Yeast, after all, don’t have feet to move around. Secondly, folding the dough further helps with the development of the dough. If the dough felt a little underdeveloped, this is a good time to give it a little extra folding to make up for it. Lightly flour the top of the dough in the bowl and then plop it out onto the
Fold the dough
counter. Start with the top portion and fold it down about a two thirds of the way. Take the bottom and fold it over the top. Do the same with the left side, and finally the right side. Turn the dough over and set it with the folds down back into the bowl. Cover it again and set the timer for another hour for the second fermentation.
- Once the second fermentation is done, we are now ready to portion our dough and preshape it. The total recipe is just under two pounds. We can make two medium sized pizzas with one pound dough balls, which is what I prefer. Lightly flour your working surface and plop out the dough.
Roll into a ball for preshape
Divide this in half and weigh to approximately 16 ounces, give or take an ounce. Roll both of these into a ball by continuously folding it into itself while turning it. It’s hard to explain and takes a little practice, but I trust you’ll get the hang of it. Set these on the counter and cover, once again, with the plastic bag. Let these rest for about 15 minutes.
- So I decided to have a little fun at this point. I wanted to see if I could successfully cook a pan style pizza in my cast iron skillet. With one of the dough balls, I flattened it out and gently stretched it to the size of my skillet, about 14 inches. The other dough ball, I re-rolled it into a ball again and placed it on a small plate, covered it, and refrigerated it. While my stretched out dough was resting for a minute, I greased up my cast iron with a little Crisco and then gently laid the dough into the skillet. I covered this as well, and placed it into the fridge. I had absolutely no idea at this point if this was going to work or not, and it was a bit of a gamble.
Refrigeration will allow further flavor development
In an hour, this dough will be ready for pizza. It can be kept for up to 24 hours in the fridge. When you’re ready to make pizza, add a little flour to your workspace and flatten out your dough ball. Use a rolling pin to gently roll out the dough to the desired size. A one pound dough will make a 14 – 18 inch pizza, depending on how thin or thick you like it. I use a baking stone, but any pizza pan will work also.
Here’s what I made:
Pizza Number One
Classic red pizza sauce
Helps to brown the crust
Pre-shredded cheese has additives. Shred your own!I don’t have a pizza peel. Old pizza box works.
I don’t have a pizza peel. Old pizza box works.
Pizza Number Two
Garlic and Spinach Béchamel sauce
Fresh Basil Leaves
Hickory Smoked Bacon
Local Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes
Pan Style Pizza
Second Pizza is ready!
And the cast iron pizza was a success!
First Pizza Crumb
Second Pizza Crumb
Hope you give this a try!
Me shoveling my face!